2013 was an amazing year for the social business industry -- with tons of technology advancements and a growing number of companies around the world adopting collaboration best practices. What's even more exciting is that 2014 is poised to be an even bigger year from an innovation standpoint -- from advancements in mobile to increasing access to big data for employees at every level. It's safe to say I'm excited to see what's in store for the market this year. If I had to take a look into my own crystal ball, here’s what I see making a big splash in 2014:
- With BYOD as mainstream, new mobile security and privacy features become mission critical — The BYOD train has left the station and more companies will adopt BYOD policies to support employee preferences, reduce costs and entice prospective employees. However, this also means that mobile device management becomes critical in 2014 as companies wake up to the fact that they need security controls in place to protect enterprise data and information stored on personal devices.
- Movement towards real-time mobile communication and collaboration networks — As Facebook and other hugely popular networks grow in size, people are getting more fatigued by the "noise" and large amounts of irrelevant information coming at them on a daily and hourly basis. For this reason 2014 will be the year that smaller, more real-time mobile communication and collaboration networks will grow - allowing people to only share certain information among a select group of people. And we'll see this occur not only among consumers, but also among co-workers who want to communicate, exchange information and collaborate on a particular topic or workstream. This is already playing out as evidenced by the huge popularity of apps like WhatsApp . And businesses that want to keep up with their employees will need to deliver enterprise apps that meet a higher threshold -- one that blends the beauty and design of consumer apps with the business, collaboration and security functionality needed to get work done.
- Professional profiles come into focus — People are investing more and more in LinkedIn and external-facing professional networks that help them move ahead in their careers. The most popular professional networks work fine for those seeking new jobs outside of their companies but what about employees looking to move up in their own organizations? Who benefits from this imbalance? Competitors do because they can poach your best people before you even know they are seeking a new challenge. People want and are asking for a place to promote or advance themselves internally, inside the firewall, to tout their accomplishments and career aspirations at place that they are already known and proven. In 2014, we will see more companies focus on inter-company employee profiles and professional networks that allow colleagues to showcase their skills, promote their accomplishments, and share their successes.
- Unifying Communities — People have a variety of communities across their social and interest graphs, from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in their personal lives to enterprise and community networks for work. However the advent of all of these networks mean multiple in-boxes to check and maintain daily and sometimes hourly. In 2014, people will look to remove these silos and bridge all of their communities into one holistic experience where they can see and act.
- Big data for the everyday employee — The term "big data" became a stand-alone term that was supposed to solve all problems. But in reality, most people feel it has yet to really deliver on its promise to unlock broad and relevant insights for the benefit of the entire organization. But times are changing. In 2014 we will see many new big data applications that actually works for the rest us - every day employees. New apps and interfaces will expose data in clear and easy ways to allow more people to access, analyze and finally apply learnings from big data to take real action, solve real problems and even predict future trends.
For a handy breakdown of my 2014 predictions, check out our slideshare here.